More than 3.7 billion drugs are ordered from doctors’ visits each year. Those of us with preexisting conditions or long-term health struggles may understand the necessity of having a good relationship with your local pharmacy. However, not all of us do.
Overlooking small details when it comes to your medications may cause health complications, longer recovery times and additional health care expenses. SIMEDHealth’s pharmacist, Lynn Bennett, took the time to help us all understand the importance of what we may be overlooking about our medications.
1. When/How to take your medications:
Don’t overlook the times you should take your medications. This means before or after meals, at bedtime or in the morning. There are some medications that should be taken on an empty stomach or with food.
Remember to refill medications for chronic conditions and do not stop taking medications unless instructed by your health care provider.
2. Remembering to take medications:
Sometimes when we’re running between picking up our kids or simply get busy at work, we can forget to take the medications that keep us up and running.
You can of course get a classic pill case with the labeled days of the week. This will provide you with a visual aid to remind you about your prescriptions. Some of these cases even come with alarms. If you’re not keen on that solution, Bennett recommends setting an alarm on your phone. You may even be able to add notes to your reminders. This way you’ll know what medications to take on what day.
The important thing, said Bennett, is remembering to take your medications on time.
3. Storing your medications:
Medications should always be stored in a cool, dry place. If medications are subject to excess heat or moisture, they may begin to taste or smell bad or change color or texture. If you find this is the case with your medications, do not continue to take them. Speak with your local pharmacist instead.
Additionally, you’ll want to discard of any medications that are no longer needed and make sure you store medications in the original bottle with the label on it. This will prevent you from accidentally misusing your prescriptions.
According to the Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), About 60,000 young children end up in emergency rooms each year because they got into medicines while an adult wasn’t looking. This is why Bennett said, “Lock up medications that can be abused or harmful to children.”
4. Your role in the opioid crisis:
If you or someone in your home has been prescribed an opioid pain medication (such as codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine or oxycodone) it’s important that these medications only be taken as prescribed for the person they are prescribed to.
From 1999 to 2016, more than 200,000 people died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids, according to the CDC. This is why you should always keep these medications locked up and out of sight so that they cannot be stolen or sold.
5. Double checking with your pharmacist:
No question is too big or small for your pharmacist to answer. It’s important to make sure that your medications and lifestyle do not conflict with each other. Here are some examples of questions you should ask your pharmacist if you’re unsure:
- What is the medicine supposed to do?
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
- Are their foods or other medications that I should avoid while taking this medication?
- What are the side effects and what should I do if they happen?
It’s best to follow up with your pharmacist as soon as possible after your prescriptions have been ordered to make sure you can communicate the most accurate information from your provider. That’s why SIMEDHealth’s pharmacy is located right in the lobby of our Gainesville location. We want to make picking up your prescriptions as convenient and affordable as possible. In fact, most of the medications we offer are discounted.